Located at: 3 Deal Place, Colombo 03, Sri Lanka
Visited on: 02 Sep, 2017
Nara Thai, for me, is now synonymous with consistency and great flavour. About five visits since it opened a year ago, I am yet to be left anything short of satisfied. There are a few favourites in particular that I go back for and they always taste just as delicious as the previous time.
Let’s start with the soup – Tom Yum, we usually go with seafood, the other choices being river prawns, chicken and beef. A portion of this (LKR 1,490 for seafood) can easily be shared among four. If I recall correctly, the family became Tom Yum fans during our time in Malaysia, where we had a delightful serving at a restaurant one day, some years back. But the fact is, not everyone gets it right. Nara’s Tom Yum is just the right balance between sweet and spicy-in-the-throat – perfect if you’re feeling under the weather, and a mouth-watering appetiser for just about anyone. The consistency of the broth is neither too watery, nor too milky – just right. And they have managed to get this ‘just right-ness’ on every occasion that we’ve ordered it, so it’s really no wonder that we go back for it!
We also ordered some Pao Pia Nara – deep fried spring rolls with chicken and vegetable filling (LKR 790) and Keaw Tord – crispy fried chicken wonton with plum sauce (LKR 690). The wontons were alright, but the spring rolls, fancy as they were being long and lean, could use more filling. In fact, given the standard of Nara’s taste, both appetisers could use a little more flavour. They definitely needed the plum sauce to pep them up, without which they could have passed off as somewhat ordinary.
On to the mains, and here comes another favourite – Kao Phad Samunprai, fried rice with Thai herbs (LKR 690). If you haven’t been here before, the blue rice image in the menu could seem a little daunting. This was my reaction the very first time I visited Nara. Then I overheard someone at a neighbouring table say it tasted really good and thought, ah well, let’s give it a try. The neighbour was spot-on. Looks can be deceiving, they say, and indeed this rice was so much more palatable than it looked. The bits of fried garlic and herbs mixed into it give it so much of character, it’s easy to enjoy. We also ordered Kao Phad Sapparod, pineapple fired rice with chicken (LKR 690), which was simple but good and came with chunky pieces of pineapple and chicken.
My third favourite at Nara, and I would say a must-try, is Kung Maenam Sam Rot, medium prawns in spicy tamarind sauce (LKR 1,390). The prawns were beautifully cooked, succulent and crunchy to the bite. And the tamarind sauce that they come in is definitely a rice-puller. Again, unswerving quality of flavour and sauce consistency, visit after visit. Highly recommended! In addition, we also went for a Lobster Phad Kra Prao, lobster with chilli and basil (LKR 5,990), which came in an oyster sauce base and complemented the rest of the meal well.
There is, however, one thing that is noticeably missing from the menu. Pork. Thai cuisine and pork go hand in hand. And I can’t imagine what Nara’s chefs could come up with using the meat – the possibilities are boundless but sadly missing. That added, this would certainly be a comprehensive menu of mouth-watering choices to indulge in.
I had a Lemongrass beverage (LKR 490) to wash my meal down, which was refreshing albeit somewhat sweet for what the waiter described as not having added sugar. Dessert was too much to accommodate after all of this, so that’ll have to wait for another day. The staff seemed to have some new recruits but were courteous and on the ball nonetheless. The ambience is pleasant for a fine family outing or even for business, and the smart use of mirrors makes the place seem more spacious than it actually is. All-in-all, every visit to Nara has been a satisfying one for me, and I certainly look forward to the next time to try out a few more dishes.
Yummy Rating: 4.5 / 5.0